Tolerate Technical & Judgement Errors, not Normative Errors.
Not everyone is technically capable of doing a particular thing or performing a particular task. When we try and fail, we learn. We should applaud these attempts, of course while working through them, and treat them as opportunities for learning.
Judgement errors can and should be worked through. As long as person is working with the highest of ethical standards and doing the best they can with the information at hand, then these kinds of errors should be treated as learning opportunities as well.
Normative errors – errors of character – are detrimental to the endgame. Normative errors need to be identified immediately and the people who commit them need to be swiftly removed from the affected process. Encouraging open and honest discussion of technical and judgement errors fosters a high-performing culture of competence underscored by loyalty, honesty, and ethics.
Encourage Experimentation via Highly Disciplined Approaches
Experimentation without documentation can be costly. Errors might not be easily reversed, successes might not be easily duplicated. Encouraging experimentation needs to go hand-in-hand with requiring documentation.
Practice the Art of Being Candid
Like a martial art, being candid needs to be practiced often, in safe, and low-stress environments. Doing so hones, cultivates, and readies candor in a methodical, respectful, and empathetic way. Mastering the application of unvarnished candor is critical because it removes obstacles, helps avoid costly mistakes, opens a path for ideas to evolve, and helps people, processes, and the business improve.
Leverage Individual Accountability to Drive Collaboration
When individuals take responsibility, their contributions are self-scrutinized and passionately supported. Consensus, on the other hand, can allow for unsupported decisions to be made by silent acquiescence and a loose accountability structure. There should always be someone who is accountable for making informed decisions.
Grant Deference based on Competence
Increase the volume and shed light on the voices and valuable opinions of experts who don’t have high-ranking titles. Lower the hierarchical power distance and sit leaders (who practice these mantras) within the action, not above it.